The Arizona Wildcats are set to play in their first NCAA Volleyball Sweet Sixteen since 2005 this weekend when they travel to Nebraska for a date with Washington on Friday.
Five seniors grace this year’s roster, but one of those five has only been in Tucson for a year.
Katarina Pilepic, who was born and grew up in Croatia, spent three years with the San Francisco Dons before transferring to Arizona for her fourth and final collegiate season. She is third on the team in kills (262) this year, and has the best attack percentage of Arizona’s outside hitters.
“I wanted to play in the best league in America,” Pilepic explained of her decision to transfer. “I wanted to go to NCAA, I wanted to go to Sweet Sixteen, so that’s what I accomplished.”
For someone to make such a big life decision like that, and have their dream come true in East Lansing last weekend, it was pretty emotional for her when the team made it through the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
“I feel like I got lucky, like what are the odds that this would happen to me,” she said through a smile. “I could choose any school in America, and I chose Arizona, and I accomplished all my goals that I wanted to accomplish so it’s amazing. It’s a great feeling.”
“I was just so proud of the team and of myself,” Pilepic added about her thoughts on the way home after the Michigan State win. “I feel like we were underdogs in that game, and it just feels nice to show the whole nation what we’re capable of.”
Pilepic and the rest of the team will have another opportunity to show the nation what they’re capable of on Friday. The Wildcats play Washington at 12:30 PM MT in Lincoln, Nebraska in the Sweet Sixteen. It will be streamed on ESPN3.